What Mothering Has Taught Me: Women Share Life-Changing Lessons
Motherhood is many emotions and adventures. It is laughter and tears—sometimes simultaneously. It is watching with wonder as your child goes from holding their head up for several seconds to standing up in their crib to taking their first steps to—seemingly suddenly—going to high school.
Motherhood also is many lessons. We learn how we want to mother. We learn what matters. We learn the things we’ve forgotten. Below, several moms share the invaluable lessons they’ve learned.
Perspective is everything. According to psychotherapist Shonda Moralis, LCSW, we can resist that mothering is full of challenges, unpredictability and regular interruptions, or we can relent. As someone who loves planning and efficiency, Moralis finds that relenting is not easy. But it’s actually less stressful. Because clinging to what should be requires a great deal of mental and physical energy.
“Whether repeated disruptions, sleep deprivation, or yet another spill to clean, I have adopted this useful trick: I replace ‘I have to’ with ‘I get to.’ I get to change his diaper; I get to soothe her back to sleep after a nightmare; I get to wake up at the crack of dawn with the little early riser.”
This perspective shift helps Moralis be less frustrated and less resentful. It helps her reconnect to the bigger picture: the immense privilege of motherhood.
There is magic in this world. Everywhere. “Seeing my son’s face light up when he experiences anything brand new—often things I don’t even think twice about anymore—has opened up my eyes and my world to magic and awe again,” said Parijat Deshpande, a perinatal wellness counselor who specializes in working with women during a high-risk pregnancy.
Raising her son is helping Deshpande to slow down in a fast-paced world that focuses on more, more, more. It’s helping her to appreciate the small things with curiosity and wonder.
For instance, before her son was born, Deshpande hated rain. But today, thanks to him, she finds it magical. “He just sits and watches the rain fall and is so mesmerized by the fact that water just falls from the sky.” She’s also started listening to music differently. Because her son asks about the various instruments in a song, Deshpande now picks up on parts she never would’ve paid attention to earlier.